The Mere Categorization Effect: How the Presence of Categories Increases Choosers' Perceptions of Assortment Variety and Outcome Satisfaction
Coauthor(s): Cassie Mogilner, Tamar Rudnick.
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What is the effect of option categorization on choosers' satisfaction? A combination of field and laboratory experiments reveals that the mere presence of categories, irrespective of their content, positively influences the satisfaction of choosers who are unfamiliar with the choice domain. This "mere categorization effect" is driven by a greater number of categories signaling greater variety amongst the available options, which allows for a sense of self-determination from choice. This effect, however, is attenuated among choosers who are familiar with the choice domain, who do not rely on the presence of categories to perceive the variety available.
Source: Journal of Consumer Research
Mogilner, Cassie, Tamar Rudnick, and Sheena Iyengar. "The Mere Categorization Effect: How the Presence of Categories Increases Choosers' Perceptions of Assortment Variety and Outcome Satisfaction." Journal of Consumer Research 35, no. 2 (August 2008): 202-215.